Almost all of us carry some emotional baggage with us often without bothering or realizing how it affects our life. We carry our emotional baggage for years and sometimes for many decades.
What are the common emotional baggage we carry around?
Our strict father who believed parenting was about dominating, scaring children and maintaining a distance. Where distance, fear and domination was misconstrued as respect.
Our over emotional or over involved mother who invested so much time and affection on us- the umbilical cord was physically cut but emotionally was bound in tight knots.
Our siblings who grew with a feeling of neglect or secondary in the hierarchy of affection showered by our parents.
Can we outgrow these feelings that we collected, as our baggage, over years? What happens to all these strained and over worked emotions?
Knowingly or unknowingly, we show the effects of these baggage on our partners. Our choice of a partner for the complex and intimate spousal relationship is often a reflection of our emotional baggage and needs. We might look for a soft spoken partner if we had an overbearing parent! We decide on a single child so that we don’t transfer a feel of neglect to our children! Most often, we do this subconsciously without even being aware that we are transferring our baggage to the lives of our family members.
Are we happy carrying these emotional baggage? Maybe not or maybe there is a perceived advantage with the baggage! The so called soft spoken friendly person might over the years be considered unassertive and indecisive. The over emotional partner might be perceived as being too dependent and a burden. Our single child whom we showered all our affection on might end up feeling lonely, spoilt and uncompromising.
Like the worldly assets we accumulate meaninglessly, we accumulate and transfer our emotional baggage to the next generation leading to the development of more complex personalities over the years.
Is there a solution? Can we be aware of the baggage we carry??
We need to self reflect and analyze ourselves from time to time. What drives our actions and reactions? Can we see our partner as a person by themselves rather than as a reflection of the strained family relations we had? Can we see our kids as human beings in their own right rather than as a vehicle for our shattered dreams or misguided ambitions?
Often, the partner is able to objectively see the baggage brought into the relationship. Are we able to accept the objectivity of our partner? Or do we become defensive? Can we let go of the baggage? Can we recognize it as a problem and deal with it?
The first step is realizing there is a problem, then accepting it and working towards a solution in collaboration with your partner. Let us try that and see if we can bring back the magic into our married life.
Often, talking issues out with an independent unbiased third party like a psychologist can bring in new perspectives and new insights. It may also help to retain objectivity and build trust between partners without getting too much caught in defensive reactions.